Terror Attacks in Mumbai

Peace in India seems like a dream too far-fetched now. After a series of terror attacks throughout the year, even the month of November has not been spared. Mumbai, a city already dealing with the ghosts of previous bomb blasts and communal and regional riots, has been attacked yet again. As if terror attacks through bomb blasts were not enough, the terror groups devised yet another way of shocking us. The indiscriminate firing and the blasts in elite hotels, hospitals, railway stations has taken brutality to a whole new level, leaving in its trail loss of several lives.

At the time of writing, 125 had been reported dead and around 300 had been said to be injured in an orthodox, yet patterned fashion of terrorism wherein south Bombay has been kept under siege for over 25 hours now. The key cluster points where a hostage crisis is being seen are posh hotels Trident and the Taj; and residential area of Nariman House. The Trident hotel alone has lost 20 of its own staff members – 5 chefs and 15 personnel have been shot dead. The manner in which the attack was conducted has left everyone foxed, and condemnations have been pouring in from around the world. Our Home Minister said that this is being regarded as a war-like situation and will be dealt with in the same severity. A word must be said for the cops, ATS members and NSG, who fought this attack in an organised manner, losing precious team members in the process.

A question asked ever so often must be asked again: why are these attacks happening? The easiest way is to blame the government, the police, the ATS, another country and etc. However, I believe that the issue here just runs deeper. The need is to look at some the reasons why these attacks are happening in the first place. According to speculations, the attacks were conducted by Indian Mujahideen, an offshoot of the Students Islamic Movement of India, masquerading as Deccan Mujahideen. According to an article published by Rediff by Vicky Nanjappa, the IM had warned ATS of such an attack. In the email, the IM stated, “You ( the ATS) should know that your acts are not at all unnoticed; we are keeping an eye on you and just waiting for the right time to execute bloodshed. We are aware of your recent raids at Ansarnagar, Mograpada in Andheri and the harassment and trouble you created for the Muslims.

“You threatened to murder them and you even misbehaved with the Muslim women and children,” the email alleged. “If your arrogance has reached this degree and if you think that you can scare us by your stunts, then let the IM warn the people of Mumbai that the ATS will be responsible for the deadly attacks on Mumbaikars in the future.”

ATS Mumbai has been said to be extremely active and been responsible for clamping down of terror activities. Furthermore, the Batla House incident is also said to have created much discontent, especially because of the inhumane way in which things proceeded. There are bound to be disgruntled Muslims because of the prejudice and victimisation they have to face. A small push in the wrong direction and several people would be willing to do what they can to get out of the stifling society they are currently relegated to. Of course this, in no way, justifies the macabre manner in which Mumbai was held hostage. It is just one of the reasons, however much we may want to ignore the truth.

This one act of terror has managed to attack the Western world as well. According to eye-witness accounts, the terrorists were specially targeting American and British tourists in the Oberoi and Taj Mahal hotels. 6 foreign nationals have been said to be dead. Western Intellegences have also speculated on the possibility of a possible link with Al Qaeda. Mumbai, the finance capital of India frequented by foreigners, may have been targeted because it was a soft target and also because Al Qaeda is said to have several resources in the country to carry out an attack on such a large scale. This clearly, comes as a wakeup call for the Western world and India. It seems India’s recent friendship with US over the nuclear treaty has not been met with much favour, coupled with the ‘bad news’ of our growing economy. India has been riddled with the issue of cross border terrorism since a long time now and although one can see the efforts made the army to stop it as much as possible, infiltration has still been happening at an alarming rate. A report by NDTV spoke about the involvement of Pakistan nationals, who have been speculated to come by boats to Mumbai. Even our Prime Minister, in his speech, said that “the use of their territory for launching attacks on us [India] will not be tolerated,” However, the possibility of the terrorists having training camps in India itself is something which needs some hard investigation.

The latest development has shown that all terrorists have been executed within the premises of the Taj Hotel and that the encounter there has come to termination. In the midst of fear and insecurity, the situation in Mumbai, and in India, looks extremely bad and these terror attacks are just weakening our foundations in the most brutal fashion. The time has come that the knee-jerk responses be replaced by well thought out strategies so as to avert such situations in the future. India needs to weed out the reasons why these attacks are happening, not just the terrorists.

Shravya Jain

[Image Source: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/11/26/world/26india3-600.jpg]